On Sunday we had a dedication service for our son Liam. It was a wonderful event. In the last few years our community had a child explosion. Liam is one of the new miracles on the scene. These dedications have become a very significant part of our community’s rhythm. It reminds us that:
- These children,Tayla and Liam, belong to God. We don’t own them. Parents are facillitators in their journey towards and with God. And in a unique way they also mentor us in our discovery and growth as children of God.
- As followers of Jesus we see the primary family not as the biological unit, but the faith unit. Therefore the whole community becomes part of the child’s story [this btw has been an amazing journey for single people and barren couples] – all of us, as the newly formed family of Jesus, have a role to play. Therefore we listen to Jesus’ words that we shouldn’t hinder the children in our community towards their individual journeys with/to God.
- Parents should be held accountable by the community in terms of the job they are doing with their children. If patterns of neglect, like excessive long working hours, are detected the community has a role to play.
When we pray for the children in our community and place our hands on them it always brings a tear to my eyes. I love the fact that the children grow into a familial structure of love, diversity, brokenness and adventure. I’ll end this post with a quote in one of Hauerwas’ books:
Children’s presence in worship reminds us that they are not simply their parent’s responsibility, but of the entire community of the baptized. If the Church, and not the family, is the primary social loyalty of believers, the Christian parents will acknowledge that their claim on their children is, while real, also limited: parents do not “own” their children. Membership in the church gives one “houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children” beyond the biological family (Mark 10:30). A congregation must therefore hold parents accountable for the care they provide their children: yet the congregation is itself committed to offering spiritual and material resources to underwrite that care. No Christian parents should feel that they have to go it alone, or that the state is the only place to which they can turn for help. Joseph L Mangina